Tucked away along the corridor to Subway at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, Gallery Visio seems an unassuming space. But don’t judge a gallery by its inconspicuous entryway.
Along the brightly lit walls within are creations by 12 UMSL students, each of them offering insights into the topic of being human.
One piece is titled “Fear,” another “Two Faced.” A third, described as “Face,” is a three-dimensional piece that can look different depending on the day.
“This one is done by Steven Coplin – he’s in my junior-level art class,” explains Lauren Kanyuck, one of the students involved in jurying and curating the show. “I’m not going to touch it, but you can see he made this with movable pieces, and he comes in every so often and rearranges it.”
Kanyuck, an art major at UMSL, is president of Artists Anonymous, a student organization that got going just a couple semesters ago. The group is eager to grow and unify UMSL’s art presence across campus, and “It Figures” – Gallery Visio’s current show – is Artists Anonymous’ first exhibition toward that end.
“We wanted to feature a show about UMSL artists, and so we came up with the idea for the theme and figured out dates and jumped through the various hoops, and it went from there,” Kanyuck says.
Her classmate Brianna Price, who serves as Artists Anonymous’ social media chair, notes that while the organizers of “It Figures” were primarily art majors, the show was open to all UMSL students – and drew a wide range of submissions.
“Art isn’t just confined to one department or college,” says Price, a studio art major. “We’re trying to get science majors, English majors, everybody to submit and be involved. And there’s a lot of diversity within the pieces that we chose.”
The featured artists – including Taylor Bockhorst, Steven Coplin, Sam Kennedy, Sam Lacadin, Brian Lewis, Danyel Poindexter, Melissa Porter, Price, Meg Riley, Kerry Stevens, Jessica Tonyan and Camilla Zachary – all express ideas related to what it’s like to be a person.
The broad topic lends itself to a wide variety of mediums and subjects, which was by design.
“It’s not just the human figure – it’s emotion and how it feels to be human and how people interpret that,” Price says.
Along with showcasing the students’ work and the Department of Art and Art History, an exhibition like “It Figures” provides much-needed experience to students as they look to the future.
“We definitely want to do this on a regular basis so that we can give students the opportunity to show their work and see what that’s like,” Kanyuck says. “Because it’s not just about going to school and going to class. It’s about what you are going to do with your degree after, and you need to be familiar with submitting your work.”
The two classmates add that they’ve been delighted with the amount of foot traffic they’re seeing inside Gallery Visio, where the show remains on display in the Millennium Student Center through April 8.